Man dies in girlfriend’s arms after being gored by elephant in safari park attack


A ranger has been gored to death by an elephant in a horrific attack at a safari lodge in South Africa.

Sheldon Hooper, 27, was charged and killed by a large female tusker after surprising her when she was with her young calf.

He died in the arms of his distraught girlfriend Rebecca Rowles who works at the same game lodge and rushed to help him.

But nothing could be done and the blood soaked game ranger died 20 minutes after the attack.

The popular ranger was with a colleague checking the inside of a perimeter electric fence when they walked into the small herd.

There were supposed to be no wild animals inside the fence at the Thornybush Waterside Lodge near Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province.

The matriarch cow weighing 3.5 tons attacked Sheldon on sight after he spooked her and the ranger turned and ran for his life.

However he only made it ten yards before the elephant, which can run at 20mph, rammed both its tusks through him from behind.

Thornybush CEO Trevor Jordan said the two park employees had bumped into a herd of three female elephants and six calfs.

Mr Jordan said: “Sheldon was about 20m from the elephants and one of them came at him fast and chased him for about 10m.
“One tusk went into him just above his heart and below his collar bone and the other caused a gaping wound to his leg.
“His colleague ran to get help but Sheldon was still conscious and phoned the lodge manager and his girlfriend for help.
“They went to the scene where Sheldon was telling them how to apply a tourniquet but he succumbed to his injuries within 20 minutes.
“Paramedics got there as soon as they could but there was nothing they could do.
“It wasn’t a charge of some rogue elephant but it seems he and the herd surprised each other and he was too close to a six-month-old calf.

“He was exceptionally good at his job and knew elephants very well and as you can imagine we are all very traumatised here at Thornybush” he said.

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